New IR laws liked by employees?

From the department of the-devil-is-in-the-details:
A study has found many people believe the Federal Government's controversial WorkChoices policy has provided a better balance between work and family life.

About 40 per cent of those surveyed by Deakin University said they were allowed more personal carer days since the inception of WorkChoices last year, and 27 per cent said their sick days had increased.

Fifty-five per cent of the survey respondents complained of an increased need to seek legal advice about their work agreements.

The findings were the result of a survey of just over 1000 companies, all members of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

The University says four-fifths of the survey respondents would have had direct experience with the Work Choices legislation.

The companies said that negotiation with individuals on pay and conditions had risen by 25 per cent, while union involvement in settling grievances had decreased by 12 per cent.
Okay, the fact that this study has been released by Deakin University gives it credibility. If it was released by some organisation representing employers I would doubt the veracity. Nevertheless, the way the media is reporting it is problematic.

The important thing to note in the story is that it took a sample of employees from companies which are members of the Human Resources Institute. From the institute's website, we find this quote:
The AHRI vision people leading business recognises the changing requirements of Australian business against a background of considerable economic challenge. It also acknowledges the continuing opportunity for the HR profession to actively contribute specialist knowledge for the delivery of people management solutions to business.
In other words, the employees in this study who are happy with the IR laws work for companies that employ Human Resource managers and have expertise in people-management.

I'm all for the importance of Human Resources. Companies that have HR managers understand the relationship between employee productivity and employee needs. It is good to hear that these new IR laws have allowed such companies to use the new laws to further productivity and work more closely with their employees.

Of course, the simple fact is that most companies around Australia do not have a HR department. Many employees work for small-medium sized businesses that don't have the luxury of having HR. It is in these companies that employees will have the most dissatisfaction.

The media have unintentionally "spun" this news to create the impression that large percentages of the workforce are happy with the new IR laws. What the media should have done is be more judicious in its reporting, and titled it "Some employees are happy with IR laws".

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